For my six decades, fundamental issues have gone without any serious efforts to fix them: Water, Immigration, and Infrastructure.
These are vital to the success of our district. As our communities and economy grow, our existing problems get bigger and new problems come up. There is no plan for expanding our economy and broadening our tax base to ensure the security of future generations.
This land, in all its diverse beauty and abundance, needs protection so we can continue to enjoy the many ways that it benefits our way of life. We must build resiliency into our economy by facing up to the fact our climate is changing. We are living on what our great grandparents, great-great grandparents and great-great-great grandparents built for us. We must take responsibility for building and protecting our own future.
Water security is imperative to our success as a district and a people. Each year we face a drought that could devastate the livelihood of thousands of families and businesses they support. We have sufficient water, but our representatives have chosen to ignore this threat.
We have the capability to secure funding and build sufficient storage to protect us against drought. We have projects underway to safeguard the Odessa aquifer and provide clean drinking water and irrigation, but these projects are stalled and without a champion in Congress, they will not move forward. I will move critical projects forward.
Immigration is vital to our economy. We only have to look at the thriving Latino community to see it's significant contribution to our communities and economy. But the H2A visa process that we depend on is flawed. It is complicated, expensive, and has too many failure points that can prevent getting and keeping necessary workers in place.
The H2A visa process also is a barrier to small farmers and businesses, due to the significant amount of time and money it takes to initiate. I can see where we can make changes to the H2A visa process that can get support from all parties and make H2A visas easier to use. This would remove one more risk factor from our economy.
We must also address the path to citizenship for those that want it. Year after year, dedicated, hard-working people arrive to do backbreaking work that keeps us as one of the top exporting states in the nation. They should have an opportunity for citizenship, which is a fair reward for their contribution to our great nation.
Infrastructure in rural Central Washington takes a backseat to almost everything else, but our way of life and economy depend up on it. Roads, bridges, internet, rail, dams, waterways, power grid, and more. We must create a plan to rebuild and improve our infrastructure, so we can remain one of the top exporting states in the nation and the leader in clean, sustainable energy.
More of our Federal tax dollars must stay in Central Washington to invest in our future. Investing in Central Washington benefits the whole nation.
Violence plagues our communities and tears us down. Organized violence will not end unless we address it head on and get kids on the right track, as early as possible. Cycles of violence can be stopped by helping people get onto a solid path back into society.
I am grateful for police protecting us from violent crime, but it's not solely their responsibility. In addition to all the funding they deserve to do their jobs safely and well, they need community leaders and elected officials to address the bigger picture.
But an even larger problem is domestic violence. This is the number one cause of injury to women. Largely unseen and not talked about, it is truly destroying us. With all the good our police do, this is a tragedy that must be a priority for local leaders and elected officials. Women must be safe.
Healthcare in Central Washington is of growing concern; both access and cost. We face the flight of Doctors, lower rates of Medicare reimbursement, low population density that forces people to travel great geographic distances to access limited facilities. We face bigger healthcare challenges than urban areas and must expand our rural facilities.
Healthcare is too expensive and financially devastating for too many. In Washington we have a good safety net, but for people making just a little above low wage, the cost of health care can be too much. Our seniors on Medicare pay big deductibles and have gaps in their coverage. Those that we consider financially comfortable face losing everything if a devastating illness hits their family.
We should have good healthcare and the lives that we've built instead of an insurance system that fails us.
Housing costs are skyrocketing and availability is close to zero. Homelessness no longer affects only those at the bottom of the economic ladder or those that suffer from mental illness , drug addiction, abandonment, or other issues. It affects those that have good jobs and incomes. High costs and low availability are putting a great strain our families, communities, and economy. We must rethink housing and increase the building of new dwellings.
Our Economy is strong, but it needs resiliency built in and a clear path to expansion. Addressing water, immigration and infrastructure will create resiliency and provide foundations for new industry and growth. We are fortunate to enjoy inexpensive, sustainable, and clean energy from Energy Northwest and the Columbia river dams. Our climate and know-how allow us to quickly move into solar, wind, and next-generation nuclear.
The infrastructure bill funds improved power grids to support more energy generation. Solar and wind can provide quick solutions while advances in technology improve storage. Next-generation nuclear needs to move faster. Licensing processes that take 20+ years are too burdensome. Safety is primary, but it needs to go quicker.
We have so many opportunities in front of us to make the 4th district a better place to live.
I stand in disbelief as to why the current Representative, and those that have come before, have done so little when, for generations, the needs have been clear! When elected I will represent the people of Congressional District 4 and put us on a path to a better future.